[описание , на английском]
Many new weapons appeared for the first time during the period of the First World War, 1914-1918. Many of these weapons were little more than improvements upon older designs and soon became obsolete as newer, more modern weapons were introduced to the ranks of the opposing armies.
One new weapon introduced by the German Army during the war, which proved to be very successful, was the “Granatenwerfer", literally the grenade thrower. This particular weapon was developed in response to specific needs placed upon the troops by trench warfare. The design was simple and the weapon soon became a favorite of the soldiers and universally accepted. It proved to be an effective weapon both in its defensive role and its offensive role.
When the “Granatenwerfer” was first introduced into service it was known as the “Priesterwerfer” or Priest thrower. It received this unusual designation because the original concept of this weapon came from a Hungarian Priest. He developed it for use in the static trench warfare that had been in place since late 1914.
The weapon was then tested by the German Army in 1915 and introduced throughout the army with the official designation, ‘Granatenwerfer M1915'. The intent was to provide at least one ‘Granatenwerfer 15' to every infantry company in the army. The weapons would be manned by men taken from the ranks of the company it was assigned to. Each gun would be under the command of a non-commissioned officer, a No. 1 man would be in charge of aiming and firing the gun and a No. 2 man would be responsible for the ammunition supply.
The main difference between the Granatenwerfer and other trench mortars of the time was that the 1915 pattern stick-bomb (Wurfgranate 15) was fired from a rod instead of from out of a tube, it was essentially a spigot mortar. The entire weapon could easily be broken down into two main parts; the bedplate and the firing assembly. The weapon was accompanied by a case containing tools and spare parts.
The Bed plate
The bedplate was circular in shape and made of sheet iron and weighed about 48 lbs. It had a semi-circular flange underneath, which was intended to take up the recoil. This flange should have been well sunk into the ground before firing. There was a handle opening on the edge of the bedplate that was used to transport the bedplate to another location. A semi-circular collar was riveted onto the top of the bedplate. The bomb-thrower was attached to this collar.
The Bomb thrower
The bomb-thrower was made up of the following parts: The “Stick”, clinometer, trunnions and traversing arc. The entire mechanism was attached to the bedplate using two clamp screws. The bomb-thrower weighed about 31 lbs.
Firing the Weapon
After setting the bedplate firmly into the ground the bomb thrower mechanism was attached to the collar assembly using the two clamp screws. The operator would press down the cocking collar until the firing hook catches. The safety catch would then be turned down until the letter S (Sicherung=safety) was visible.
The clamp screws were then loosened and the traversing arc was brought to the point desired, the clamp screws were then tightened. The operator would then set the pointer of a water level to the degree corresponding to the range desired then adjust the level of the “Stick” by raising or lowering it. When the level of the ‘Stick’ corresponded to the desired angle the “Stick” would be clamped down.
The bomb would then be placed upon the “Stick”. On the command “Ready” the tape on the safety pin was removed, then the pin was removed. The firing lever was turned in the direction of which the firing was to be carried out and the lanyard was attached.
In order to fire the Granatenwerfer the safety catch had to be turned up until the letter F (Feuer=fire) was visible. The crew was directed to take cover and the lanyard was given a sharp jerk that fired the bomb. This procedure was repeated as often as needed.
The 1915 Pattern stick-bomb
The stick-bomb or grenade is made up of a malleable cast iron body; a tail made of tubing with four vanes of sheet iron at the base. There is a recess for the percussion fuze with a 2.5-gram detonator at the front of the grenade and a recess for a cartridge inside of the tubing at the rear. The grenade itself is fired using a standard service rifle cartridge with the bullet removed; the powder charge remained the same, 3.2 grams. The shape of the segmented body of the grenade with its tail fins reminded British troops of a pineapple, hence the nickname given to the weapon.
The grenade had a bursting charge of nitrate of ammonia and TNT. The fragmentation effect depended upon the angle being used to fire it. The fragmentation spread in low trajectory shots was from 3-5 meters wide and 50 meters long. Steeper shots generally had a fragmentation spread of 30 meters from impact. The Model 1915 grenade generally made a small impact crater upon impact.
The stick-bombs were packed in wooden cases containing ten bombs. The percussion fuzes were screwed in and a blank cartridge was inserted. The cases also contained 10 detonators in a special waterproof box.
The bomb was prepared for use by unscrewing the fuze and inserting a detonator. The fuze was screwed back in and any bent wing vanes were straightened with flat-nose pliers. The fuze was a simple impact variety. When the granatenwerfer was to be used the stick-bombs were prepared for firing. After the thrower was set up the fuze was unscrewed and the detonator was inserted. The fuze was screwed back in and the stick-bomb was ready for use.
The fuze consisted of a percussion cap, safety spring, striker, compressed powder pellet and detonator. Upon impact the safety spring was compressed and the striker would hit a percussion cap. The flash from the percussion cap would pass through the compressed powder pellet and set off the detonator. The stick-bombs were never to be transported with a detonator or without the safety pin and safety pin tape in place.
Later in the war a new projectile was developed which made the grenade more effective against enemy personnel. Instead of having an impact fuze at the end of the grenade the newer model was designed to rebound off of the ground and explode in the air.
This was accomplished by fitting a steel case over the head of the cast iron body of the grenade with the end closed. The case contained a charge of black powder. When the grenade struck the ground the black powder would be ignited through an opening in the fuze just before the grenade detonated. The steel case surrounding the bomb would act as a mortar tube, propelling the grenade into the air where it would detonate. This Pattern of bomb did not have the exterior segmentation as in earlier models; instead the segmentation was along the interior walls of the bomb. Exterior segmentation would have seriously reduced the “mortar” effect of the bomb after it had struck the ground.
One other difference between the Model 1915 grenade and newer rebounding grenade was the method of firing it. Instead of using a standard rifle cartridge a small flat tin case containing propellant was inserted into the base tube. This allowed for more room for the bursting charge. Other differences include extending the length of the bomb from 10.8 inches to 14.1 inches and reducing the diameter from 2.7 inches to 2.6 inches.
One of the shortcomings of the new rebounding bomb was the reduction in range from 328 yards down to 275 yards.
Details of the Pattern M1915 bomb and New Pattern Rebounding bomb
New Pattern (Rebounding) Ordinary Pattern, M. 1915
Total weight 5½ lbs. 4 lbs.
Weight of bursting charge 7 oz. 8 oz.
Total length with fuze 14.1 in. 10.8in
Exterior diameter of body 2.6 in. 2.7 in.
Maximum range 275 yards 328 yards
Range Table for 1915 or 1916 Pattern Bomb-Thrower with 1915 Pattern Stick-bomb
Range Elevation in degrees Range Elevation in degrees
Meters Yards High Angle Fire Direct Fire Meters Yards High Angle Fire Direct Fire
300 328 45 45 170 186 73 18
290 317 47 42 160 175 74 16
280 306 50 38 150 164 75 14
270 295 53 34 140 153 76 -
260 284 56 31 130 142 77 -
250 273 59 29 120 131 78 -
240 262 62 27 110 120 79 -
230 251 64 25 100 109 80 -
220 241 66 24 90 98 81 -
210 230 68 23 80 87 82 -
200 219 70 22 70 76 83 -
190 208 71 21 60 66 84 -
180 197 72 20 50 55 85 -
The weapon was not to be fired at ranges less than 55 yards in order to avoid endangering their own troops.
The Bomb-thrower was redesigned in 1916. The new model Bomb-thrower, called the Granatenwerfer 16, was easier to operate than its predecessor but it still was unusually heavy. The newer pattern actually weighed more than the 1915 Model, about 88 lbs.
Про боеприпасы сюда : Миномёт Granatenwerfer M1916 (Gr.W.16) ”Taube” или “Priesterwerfer” .
Фото ниже из журнала reibert , отсюда :
Дополнение от 28.09.2016 , "WAFFEN REVUE" Nr. 33 II. Quartal 1979 :